Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Michael Sheen's Desert Island Movies

Last night I stumbled across a brilliant show on Radio 2 featuring the fabulous and debonair actor Mr Michael Sheen. 'My Life In Movies' takes the central conceit of 'Desert Island Discs' and transfers it to an hour long discussion about a star guest's 6 favourite films. I'd forgotten how wonderful it could be just to listen in to people chatting about films. Granted, Sheen's input and opinions are of far more interest then most, and I probably wouldn't have stayed listening very long if it had been Jordan's 6 fave chick flicks, but as it was the programme was extremely illuminating. Sheen always comes across as a interesting man, and his choices managed to somehow make him even more endearing. He chose 6 well known films, which he spoke about eloquently and with an informative regard to his own life. The films were as follows:

1) The Wizard of Oz
2) A Matter of Life and Death
3) Apocalypse Now
4) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
5) 12 Monkeys
6) Raging Bull

Sheen mentioned how difficult it had been to make his final selection of 6 from a shortlist of about 40 films. He said it had crossed his mind to pick films which made him look like an intellectual, but in the end had decided on the ones that he just loved to watch. They reflected so well on him anyway, he obviously made the right choice. His whole conversation throughout the programme was sprinkled with self deprecating anecdotes and good humour, which made him come across as totally adorable. For a short while, the show is available to listen to again here: Michael Sheen on Chrissy Iley's My Life in Movies, BBC Radio 2.

The only slightly annoying thing to put up with (and this is not Mr Sheen's fault) is presenter Chrissy Iley's infantilising plot synopses of the films he's chosen. Other than that, she's really very good as well, asking the right questions and then giving Sheen plenty of space to discuss and elaborate. I just can't help thinking that anyone listening to a Radio 2 show called 'My Life in Movies', at 11pm on a Tuesday night, is probably already familiar with the plot of 12 Monkeys or A Matter of Life or Death. And even if they're not, I think they're probably going to be just about capable of piecing together any gaps in their knowledge by simply listening to the discussion. Other than that, it's a top show.

Picture: Michael Sheen as Brian Clough in The Damned United, BBC Films